MFA out-of-home campaign, rebrand by Base Design, photo by Sarah Hopp

Base Design’s Museum of Fine Arts rebrand shows it’s “not just for the elite”

The Museum of Fine Arts’ new identity looks to communicate inclusion and community, and tie the institution firmly to its Boston home

Base Design’s New York office has rebranded the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (MFA), creating new positioning that aims to “remind all Bostonians that its spaces and collections are for everyone, not just the elite”.

MFA has one of the most comprehensive arts collections in the Americas, according to Base, with works ranging from historical masterpieces to contemporary icons. Housed in a grand neoclassical building in Boston, its impressive architecture and prestigious reputation were felt to have made the museum feel potentially intimidating and off-putting to visitors.

MFA books, rebrand by Base Design
Top: MFA out-of-home campaign, photo by Sarah Hopp; above: MFA books
MFA Late Nights posters, rebrand by Base Design
MFA Late Nights posters

That reputation was damaging to the MFA both in terms of visitor numbers and the fact it didn’t align with the evolution in its programming to feature more diverse artists and run community-based initiatives.

“Through a new visual identity and messaging, the goal was to convey a sense of belonging for visitors of all ages and backgrounds, who should feel a sense of warmth, welcome, and inclusion in the museum’s communications, as well as see something new and surprising happening at MFA,” says Base Design.

The new branding includes a redesigned logo that features the word ‘Boston’ more prominently, with the A and B letterforms connected to “firmly tie the museum to its location”. New typography has been introduced, which Base describes as “bold, contemporary and slightly quirky”. The typeface also includes special glyphs that “create a sense of belonging and connection; embracing from above and supporting below”, the agency adds.

MFA branding by Base Design, photograph by Sarah Hopp
MFA branding by Base Design, photograph by Sarah Hopp

MFA OOH campaign

MFA exterior, image copyright Tony Rinaldo
MFA exterior, image copyright Tony Rinaldo

The primary colour palette uses white, black and the brand’s heritage red; with a supporting secondary palette made up of a number of vibrant tones. Where the museum’s branding previously used a red square, this has been replaced with a red triangle. This device is used as a flexible design element that directs people towards important information; “points to the future”; and acts as part of an animated ticker online that feels dynamic, even in static forms, and underscores the idea of excitement and newness.

For the relaunch campaign, Base devised the slogan Here All Belong, which the agency says stands “as a promise of active inclusion that reflects what the museum is, and stands for, today”. The slogan is used on a series of posters within a flexible visual framework alongside a range of portraits from the MFA collection from different time periods and countries.

The agency adds: “Together, the revised identity and the campaign ensure that MFA feels welcoming and highly accessible, and that its world-class collection of art can and will be enjoyed by everyone.”;; Full art credits for the project here